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Juncker regrets not concluding a deal on Cyprus issue (Updated)

Jean-Claude Juncker in Cyprus in July 2015 (CNA)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker mentioned the non-resolution of the Cyprus issue as “one of his regrets” concerning his tenure on the helm of the executive branch of the EU.

Juncker said in a televised interview with Politico Brussels, that he regrets not concluding a deal between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community.

He was asked “what is your biggest regret of the past five years?”.
Juncker answered: “There are many. You should ask what my successes are, then I would be unstoppable. I have some regrets, smaller but important ones. I am sad, although I was spending a lot of efforts in that direction, that I was not able to bring the Cypriot question to a good end. I started there, I visited Cyprus different times, the Republic of Cyprus also the Turkish community. We were very close and then it evaporated.”

Juncker was in Cyprus in July 2015 to help the two leaders reach an understanding in connection with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) application for halloumi/hellim.

The victory was short-lived and the PDO has not yet been registered, four years on.

The delay is due to disagreements between the government and the European Commission after Nicosia raised certain objections to parts of the ‘2015 deal’. Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis earlier this year blamed the lack of progress on political reasons, adding that the application had been linked with the Green Line Regulation and the Cyprus problem.

A Commission spokesman said the case was at the stage of examining objections but he could not say whether procedures would be expedited.

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